Chamber News

April 15, 2020 Likes Comments

Today's update: PPP running on E? And we've made new friends!

As of Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration had approved more than 27,000 loans -- for a combined $7.07 billion -- in Massachusetts, through its Paycheck Protection Program, the Boston Business Journal reports.

That’s a relief for the Bay State businesses and nonprofits that have qualified for these loans, which under the right circumstances are forgivable.

The problem is, we’ve been hearing from far too many local employers who are still anxiously waiting for a bank to process their applications.
 
Others are still scrambling to find a lender to work with.
 
How many are still waiting? No idea. But yesterday about 125 local employers registered for a chamber’s SBA webinar. I’m guessing most of those attendees wouldn’t have registered if their loans were already on the way.
 
Meanwhile this $349 billion program, part of the federal CARES Act, is running out of money, with $247.5 billion awarded nationwide so far.
 
“We’re anticipating it will [run out] by the end of the week,” Joe Campanelli of Needham Bank told the BBJ, adding that his bank has processed more than 700 PPP applications.
 
Congress has been debating adding more PPP funds but have yet to reach agreement. Let's hope they reach an agreement soon.
 
In case you missed it, here’s the slides from yesterday’s SBA webinar. And here’s a document prepared by the SBA that answers many frequently asked PPP questions.
 
We’re making new friends
 
Considering our challenging economy, we know that many businesses are being forced to spend every dollar carefully.
 
That includes, of course, your chamber dues. As I wrote last week, we’re willing to work with any member that needs to delay their annual dues payment or switch to a monthly or quarterly plan. We’ve also opened our virtual doors to any business or nonprofit that’s not a member right now, hoping you’ll choose to join once we get through this together.
 
But the chamber is a business too. We’re facing significant revenue losses from the many events we’ve had to cancel (Everyone’s favorite, "Spring Seasonings: A Taste of Our Towns" was supposed to happen next week!), as well as membership losses.
 
That’s why it’s particularly gratifying when a business or nonprofit that isn’t a current member, joins now. And so far in April we’ve gained a handful of new members.
 
One of those new members, Rachel White, CEO at Byggmeister, a builder of sustainable homes and retrofit projects, said she’s joining now because she appreciates the information we’ve been sharing.
 
“In the crush of communications we have received since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our area with full force, the chamber’s communications have consistently stood out from the pack,” she wrote. “During this difficult time, we are especially grateful for this tremendous local resource.”
 
“When Greg mentioned the other day about providing dues relief to members facing financial difficulties, it struck me how fortunate I am to be in a position where I am still able to make such payments,” added Brian R. Iammartino, CFA at btcRE, a boutique commercial real estate investment and consulting firm.
 
"Joining at this time felt like the least I could do. I look forward to remaining a member and being a part of the Newton-Needham community for many years to come,” he said.
 
Thanks and welcome to Rachel and Brian and to our other new, current and future members. It means more to us than you can imagine.
 
Also a big thanks to a few members who’ve recently made an additional, very generous, donations to the chamber. But I’ll save their stories for another day.
 
Stay in touch. Just don’t touch.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688

P.S.. Thanks to Michael Hertz at the Bulfinch Group for sharing these links


P.S.S. Wondering how things are going at our local hospitals? BID-Needham CEO John Fogarty provided an update earlier this week in this video about what’s happening at the hospital with staff, patients and operations. (You can help the hospital’s workers by donating to the Healthcare Heroes Fund.)

 

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